Thailand Becomes First Asian Country to Legalize Same-sex Marriage 1

Thailand Becomes First Asian Country to Legalize Same-sex Marriage

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Thailand’s Senate has passed the marriage equality bill making the country the first in Southeast Asia to recognise same-sex marriage. On Tuesday, the upper house approved the measure in its final reading with 130 votes garnered in favor from the 152 members in attendance. A total of four senators voted against it and there were 18 absentations.
The legislation is expected to go to King Maha Vajiralongkorn for assent, for a formality that’s expected to be granted. The formality will come into force 120 days after being published in the Royal Gazette. Thailand will become the third Asian jurisdiction to legalise gay marriage once the law takes effect.
The Bill’s passing was welcomed by LGBztQ human rights groups and advocates.
In a statement,  Amnesty International’s Thailand researcher Chanatip Tatiyakaroonwong said, ” Thailand has taken a historic step towards becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize marriage for LGBTQI couples. This landmark moment is a reward for the tireless work of activists, civil society organizations and lawmakers who have fought for this victory.”
According to the legislation, marriage is labelled as a partnership between two individuals changing references to “men”, ” women”, “husbands” and “wives” to gender-neutral terms. The legislation will also grant LGBTQ couples adoption and inheritance rights that are equal to those of individuals in heterosexual marriages.
Thailand is popular for its vibrant LGBTQ culture and tolerance, and activists have struggled against conservative attitudes for long.
Thailand Becomes First Asian Country to Legalize Same-sex Marriage 2
Activists continue to criticise laws for failing to recognise non-binary and transgender individuals who will not be allowed to change their gender on official identity documents. Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, a member of a parliamentary committee on same-sex marriage said, “We are very proud to make history,”
“Today, love triumphed over prejudice … after fighting for more than 20 years. Today, we can say that this country has marriage equality.”
Politicians were captured celebrating in the National Assembly as they waved rainbow flags and smiled as some raised their fists in solidarity with the rainbow community. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who has been vocal in his support for the rainbow community and marriage equality, is bound to open his official residence to activists and supporters to celebrate.
In 2020, the Constitutional Court ruled that the current matrimonial law was constitutional. It also recommended that the legislation be expanded to ensure minorities’ rights. The National Assembly approved the first readings of four draft bills on same-sex marriage tasking a committee to consolidate them into a draft.
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